Fibonacci Sequence: The Best American Prog You Haven’t Yet Heard
Written by Brett Kihlmire
Formed in 2006 by drummer Tom Ford and guitarist Michael Butzen, Fibonacci Sequence began as a simple musical project, but with the addition of keyboardist Jeff Schuelke, the project evolved into a full-fledged band with a strong progressive character.
Taking their name from the mathematics term, which is defined as a series of numbers in which each number (Fibonacci number) is the sum of the two preceding numbers, the band found something more than just a cool name.
Being that the band took notice of how the Fibonacci Sequence appears commonly, and in the strangest ways, in nature they viewed it in a philosophical way with Ford saying of the term, “really brings God and science together,” for it can be viewed as a crossroad between intelligent design and chaotic evolution. Of course, there’s a humorous side of the name too.
“It’s probably most progressive, pretentious name. A lot of people think we’re Italian or from Europe,” says Ford, but the band is, in fact, American – from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to be exact.
With the release of their debut album, entitled Numerology, the band became known for their impressively technical instrumental style. In fact, their music was so complicated that current bassist Chad Novell was, despite being an accomplished player, a bit intimidated. Fortunately, his wife Kassandra convinced him to try out for the band when the time came to recruit a new bassist during the interim years between Numerology and the band’s long awaited sophomore effort, Cinema Finis.
Meeting with the band for a jam session, Novell was a member by the end of the day thanks to his skillful playing of the band’s songs, which ironically were never played start to finish by their original composer. As a result, he proved himself a powerful asset in the band and would finish the lineup from 2010 to the present day.
With their lineup stable for seven years now, the band has greatly evolved their style into what Novell describes as “cinematic progressive.” The cinematic aspects really shine on the band’s latest record thanks to the clever use of cinema sound effects, classic tropes, and Easter Eggs to help tell a story without a vocalist. Of course, being a true progressive band in mind, body and spirit, the members of Fibonacci Sequence admit the jury is still out on what style of prog they play due to their ever evolving sound. But then again, they don’t really care. They’re just here to play music.
“The whole point of prog is to not be that,” says Ford in regards to being pinned down to a certain subgenre of prog.
For most bands, a new album comes out every two or three years, but for Fibonacci Sequence it took four. This was due to a number of factors, but none worse than Novell injuring his hand and having to essentially relearn the songs. This allowed for the other band members to mull over what they had written prior to recording and enter the studio with slightly altered compositions. This threw Novell off kilter a bit, but thanks to their producer he was able to not only complement the updates but update his own work on the fly.
“My bass lines changed so much from what I went into the studio with,” Novell says. “I’ve never recorded an album like this before.”
With Cinema Finis, the band wanted to do everything better than Numerology. This meant a fresh and bold new musical approach and an ambitious art project. The first, and most recognizable, difference is the art and the story. All of the artwork was shot on location at the Modjeska Theater in Milwaukee, WI. But that’s not all as the album carries on the mostly forgotten tradition of the gatefold double vinyl record. For this they have put together marquees for each track as if they were films to be seen at the theater. As well, Schuelke has been busying himself writing a blog that tells the story for each song to complement the story being told through the music and accompanying art and sound effects. The story, of course, is a clash between science and faith, which goes back to the band’s view on the Fibonacci Sequence itself. To say the least, Cinema Finis is an ambitious project that goes well beyond the traditional boundaries of a rock album.
“There’s a lot of things after a second or third pass you’ll start to hear that you didn’t before,” hints Ford.
Hitting the ground running following the official release of the new album, Fibonacci Sequence plans to throw a CD release party for the fans, put out a limited edition run of t-shirts, and release a limited edition gatefold vinyl album. Best yet, as of this writing the band is considering putting together a series of music videos that would not only be released online, but be used at the band’s live performances.
As for shows, the band is ruling out extensive touring due to the heavy cost of the practice in this day and age, and of course, the unfortunate lack interest the general rock community has in prog. Fortunately, this won’t stop the band from playing around the Midwestern USA and trying to snag a warm up spot on any bigger name acts willing to pull them onstage. For the time being, be sure to check out the band’s official webpage (HERE) and their official Facebook (HERE) for more on the band, Cinema Finis, and Numerology.